Joel Silver, with his friends Bernard “Buzzy” Hellring and Jonathan “Jonny” Hines.
Columbia High School, New JERSEY.
Played in a parking lot, catching and throwing.
Ultimate Frisbee as we know it today was created in the summer of 1968, when The Founders experimented with rules while playing with a frisbee at Columbia High School. Ultimate expanded to colleges around the northeast and around the country and gained enough popularity where unofficial National Championships were held in the mid to late 70s.
In the summer of 1968, Joel Silver was introduced to a “frisbee football” type game while participating in an educational enrichment program at the Mount Hermon School in Northfield, Mass. After returning to Columbia High School in Maplewood, N.J., that fall, he got a motion passed at the student council to introduce Frisbee into the curriculum. Together with his friends Bernard “Buzzy” Hellring and Jonathan “Jonny” Hines, they got other students to play their new game and refined the rules, producing a written “first edition” of the rules for the sport Joel dubbed “Ultimate Frisbee” and naming their group the “Columbia High School Varsity Frisbee Squad” in early 1970.
The three classmates laid the foundation required to permit the transformation of a recreational activity into a sport over the following years. Ultimate today is still played largely according to the rules developed by Joel, Buzzy, and Jonny. Joel Silver is currently an accomplished Hollywood producer, producing dozens of films including the Lethal Weapon series, the first two Die Hard films, and The Matrix series. He is married to Karyn A. Fields, has one son, and currently lives in Burbank, Calif.
The First Game - Nov. 6, 1972
Rutgers played Princeton in the first college ultimate game held on November 6, 1972 in New Brunswick, NJ. The Contest was held in the parking lot behind the College Avenue Gym, the same site where, 103 years earlier, Rutgers and Princeton clashed in the first college football game. The box score which appered in the New York TImes the next day states that Rutgers defeated Princeton 29-27.
About a thousand spectators lined the field for the first game, inclunding newspapers, radio and ABC-TV cameras. Rutgers, clad in red shirts and matching blue sweatpants, took a two point lead in the first 24 minute half, and matched the Princeton Tigers point for point through the second half for the victory.
Rutgers was lead by Columbia High School graduates Irv Kalb and Geoff West, two players who helped originate the game in Maplewood, NJ. Dan "Stork" Roddick, a 6'-5" graduate student from Shippenberg, PA, was a favorite long target of theirs, scoring 10 goals in the game. The "Stork" was a PA and NJ state champion in trick, distance, and accuracy competitions. Roddick had stopped throwing when he entered graduate school at Rutgers, but came out of hibernation after he saw an advertisement for the ultimate team on campus.
History was also made by Peggy Delahanty, a Rutgers freshman from Cresskill, NY, who played several minutes during the second half and became the first woman to ever play ultimate on an intercollegiate level.
Rutgers co-captain Geoff West was quoted in the New York Times as saying, "I hope this will catch on. We really dig this sport."
Jonny Hines, who founded the Princeton team and played in the first college game ever -- the Rutgers-Princeton match-up played before more than 1,000 spectators in 1972, is now an international attorney splitting time between New York and Moscow. He is married to Olga Dyuzheva and has two sons. Tragically, Buzzy Hellring died in an automobile accident while returning to college at Princeton University in the spring of 1971.
Eventually the Ultimate Players Association (UPA) was formed in 1979 to govern the sport of Ultimate in the US. Since that time the UPA has grown by leaps and bounds, introducing College, Womens, Mixed, Masters, and Youth divisions, and becoming one of the fastest growing sports in the US. By the end of 2009, the UPA had grown to over 30,000 members. In late May, 2010, the organization transitioned from the Ultimate Players Association into USA Ultimate.
***The patent for the Frisbee™ was issued on September 30, 1958.****